Mark S. Bonham Centre for
Sexual Diversity Studies


Symposium on LGBT Refugees and Migration

April 19th 2018 at 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Join us on April 19 as the Bonham Centre hosts an LGBT Refugee and Migration Symposium at Hart House in conjunction with the 2018 Bonham Centre Awards.

Speakers include:
Ahmad Danny Ramadan – Award Winning Author, Journalist and LGBTQ Refugee Activist
Kamahli Powell – Executive Director, Rainbow Railroad
Dr. David Murray – Professor, York University
Doug Kerr – Project Lead, Dignity Network
Vitit Muntarbhorn – UN Independent Expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Karlene Clark-Williams – Manager, Direct Services at The 519

Location: East Common Hall, Hart House

Time: 1pm- 4pm

This is a free event. With light refreshments and snacks.
Accessible venue.

Please see an Itinerary for the event,

Symposium on LGBT Refugees and Migration

Thursday, April 19, 2018

1:00-4:30 pm, Hart House

1:00        Opening – Land Acknowledgement

Welcome remarks – Brenda Cossman, Director of the Bonham Centre and Air Canada (Travel Sponsor)

1:15       Ahmad Danny Ramadan – A Queer Journey

Award winning author, journalist, and LGBTQ refugee activist, author of The Clothesline Swing – will speak of his work, writings, personal experience and advocacy work for LGBTQ refugees.

1:45        The Challenges of Bringing LGBTQ Refugees to Canada

Panel:   Kimahli Powell, Executive Director, Rainbow Railroad

               David Murray, Professor, York University

Moderator: Dai Kojima, Undergraduate Director, Bonham Centre

Rainbow Railroad and others who have worked on sponsoring LGBTQ refugees to Canada will discuss the legal, political, social and political challenges. What are the major challenges that remain? What role can government and non-government organizations play in addressing these challenges and supporting the work done by sponsoring organizations?

2:30       Coffee Break

2:45        Supporting LGBTQ Refugees after Arrival

Panel:   Karlene Williams-Clarke, Manager, Direct Services, The 519

Princess Warren

Wallace Akomode

Moderator: Dai Kojima, Undergraduate Director, Bonham Centre

What are the challenges faced by LGBTQ refugees once they arrive in Canada? What services are available, and what challenges do new LGBTQ Canadians face in accessing these services?  How can public and private actors better address these challenges and support newcomers? What is the role of the LGBTQ community in better addressing these challenges?


3:30 Refugee Producing Countries/Contexts – How to Address the Global Persecution and Violence Against LBGTQ Persons?

Panel: Vitit Muntarbhorn, Professor of Law at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok Thailand, first UN Independent Expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by the Human Rights Council. Doug Kerr, Dignity Network National Steering Committee, Equal Rights Coalition Executive Committee

This session will address the global context of LGBT persecution that produces refugees, and consider broader approaches to addressing the conditions.  What is the role of government and non-governmental organizations in addressing these underlying conditions?

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